Patrick Heath-Lay by Patrick Heath-Lay |

I can clearly remember the day The People’s Pension went live to our members – it was also the day that I started in my role as Chief Executive.

Since that nail-biting experience 10 years ago, we’ve been on an incredible journey which has seen us become one of the biggest workplace pension providers in the UK, helping nearly 6 million members to save almost £18 billion for their futures.

In an organisation like ours, we’re focused on looking forward, but sometimes it’s good to look back. This anniversary has given me time to reflect on what we’ve achieved and there is plenty for us to be proud of.

I had the opportunity to talk to Jonathon Stapleton, Editor of Professional Pensions about this – you can watch a clip below where he asked me about The People’s Pension’s auto-enrolment journey over the past decade…

Extraordinary growth from a compelling proposition

I’m not sure I ever thought that the auto-enrolment policy or The People’s Pension would be as successful as they have proven to be. But it was clear early on that that our experience, value driven proposition and quality of service, together with our not-for-profit status enabled us to deliver a compelling proposition to market, to address the challenge of auto-enrolment.

The growth we experienced in the early days was extraordinary – I remember one day when we took on over 1,000 employer customers – and since then, we’ve continued to grow at a consistent rate.

A decade of success

This success has largely been down to our unflinching focus on what is right for the members and putting people above profit; a fact demonstrated by the closure of our B&CE legacy schemes. Moving those pension savers into The People’s Pension, represented better value because the cost of the older scheme’s charges were higher, and the returns are potentially greater for members of the bigger scheme.

The success that we continue to enjoy is also down to the hard work of colleagues past and present. I’m incredibly proud and grateful to them, for everything we’ve achieved together over the past decade.

Continuing to learn and grow

Of course, there have been many challenges along the way, primarily around onboarding so many members and employers, but it has also been tremendously rewarding, especially when we know there is so much more to come. Although 10 years is a significant landmark, it’s only the beginning of our journey to ensure that our millions of members have the means to fund the retirement they deserve.

We’re aware that there’s so much more we can do to support that journey and help our members – now 1 in 5 workers in the UK – to build those financial foundations for life. We’re still at the starting line and are committed to delivering a pension proposition which will continue to evolve and develop with the needs of our membership.

And we continue to grow as an organisation. Our ambitious recruitment plan has seen us add valuable experience to improve the outcomes for our membership. We’re also investing in technology which will meet consumer demands for easily accessible digital products. And we’re getting ready for pensions dashboards, which will really change the pension landscape for the nation’s retirement savers.

Helping members to make the right decision

As we mature, so does our customer base – it won’t be long before an increasing number start making firm plans for life after work. This is a key area of our development and one where there’s an increasing need to provide guidance and support to enable members to make the right decision for them.

Of course, our success so far has been achieved in sync with that of auto-enrolment, which is a shining example of what a successful government policy looks like. We will continue to work closely with policy makers and industry partners to ensure we build on its success and enable even more workers to save for their retirement.

57% of people aren’t saving enough

Our recent research, conducted with the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), shows that 54% of households and 57% of individuals have not saved enough and are not saving enough. When economic circumstances allow, the government should commit to a plan to implement the Automatic enrolment review: 2017, reviewing auto-enrolment contribution rates over the longer term. Because the consensus is that 8% of banded earnings isn’t enough for people to achieve the retirement income they need.

A fair pension for everyone

One thing our members can be sure of is that we’ll continue to push for more fairness within pensions, because we believe that every worker should have access to a good quality pension, when they want one.

Nobody can predict the future, but I expect the next 10 years with developing pension policy and embedding saving through auto-enrolment will continue to throw up a challenge or two, but one that we at The People’s Pension are fully up for taking on.